BBC Breakfast forecaster and meteorologist Carol Kirkwood set the scene at Hampton Pool yesterday as she predicted the hottest day of the year. Standing in front of cool deep blue lanes already busy with morning swimmers as the thermometer got up into the 30’s again.
Guildford Lido is in Lido Rd in Stoke Park in Guildford and has been an outdoor oasis since 1933. The Lido is part of a complex run by Freedom Leisure whose brand phrase is ‘where you matter’. (1)
It seemed the whole of Surrey was inspired and by 9am the car park at the Guildford Lido was full yesterday and the facilities were full up with eager swimmers looking to keep their cool during the exceptional heatwave the UK and most of Europe are currently experiencing.
The children are all off school and enjoying the beginning of their summer break. Parents looking to entertain their families hopped in the car and headed for the Olympic sized pool. Hundreds of motorists filled the trunk roads on the way to the Lido and long queues formed as cars waited to enter the full car park.
Mrs Holland complained that she “went online in advance and paid £16.40 for pre-booked tickets that I have not been able to use as me and my six year old found the Lido was full up after sitting in queues of traffic. I paid another £13.65 to bring my daughter to the indoor pools so she was not too disappointed. The staff here were not very interested in the problems. They say they are not able to put some signs up that the Lido is full further up the road which would save people lining up unnecessarily for ages. So I better get my money back.” she added.
Another local lady bringing her family to visit the Lido for the first time was thankful she was also able to find a parking space at the leisure centre instead. “We have sat in queues of traffic already so we are going to try and walk over to the Lido but I bet it will be full with swimmers. I don’t know if we need to pay for this car park” she said rather confused.
Consequently the indoor leisure pools were full of people of all ages determined to splash around in whatever pool was available in order to cool down.
Preventable traffic jams are vitally important to discourage as the Sadiq Khan the Mayor of London proclaimed has a “public health crisis” and the Mayor said in a statement today “This week has seen London experience extremely high temperatures. The heat combined with London’s toxic air, a lack of cloud cover and emissions travelling from the continent means I am triggering a ‘high’ air pollution alert today.” (2)
Lisure centre bosses can take practical action to manage the summer rush at peak times. The public are also able to help the situation by using trains and buses that both run regularly in the area to visit the sports facilities.
The freedom leisure website still invites visitors to pre-book up to two weeks in advance. Temperatures are set to rocket today and the hot spell is forecast to last right through to the August holidays. Some simple website ticket updating and some extra signage coupled with a redesigned traffic flow system is what is needed in Guildford. Otherwise this chaotic situation is set to leave Surrey residents frustrated and very hot under the collar rather than calm and refreshed.
(1) Guildford Lido website 26 July 2018
(2) Mayor of London London Assembly ‘Mayor of London statement: ‘High’ air pollution alert triggered’ 25 July 2018